Research Informed School self Evaluation Logo with black and white print of flowers
RISE badges are available to recognise the different contributions to a school’s use of research via a process of peer review.
The badges are available at two levels ‘informed’ and ‘engaged’, for schools, teachers, communities, children and support services.

the First set of six RISE badgesthe second set of four RISE badges

The Rise Vision

Sees teachers as engaged enquirers not passive recipients of directive, dictats, whims or fashions of thinking. When teachers are performing at their best, they ask questions of their practice and their understanding of the children they teach. They are interested in the ideas and theory that influences teaching and want to investigate what works in their setting, the  if and  why some things work and others do not. Evidence is not always easy to access or to apply locally but it can form a vital part of teacher enquiry,  When we say ‘enquiry’, we mean how teachers  monitor and evaluate their own teaching and learning approaches and school-level developments, or how can we encourage a culture of engaged enquiry through a systematic approach to professional development.

There is often a close relationship between engaging ‘with research and ‘enquiry’.

Teachers as Engaged Enquirers

Teachers use research to change or adapt their own teaching, their classroom learning environments, their curricula and assessment techniques and their own practice. They do this all the time quite naturally when they discuss policy, provision and practice with one another, when they share ideas and co-coach one another when trying out a new or different approach. Using published research can  add depth and further value to this practice and can enrich understanding. It  should also lead to well-informed decisions.

The Teacher Community

Teaching in a classroom might appear to be an isolated activity but teachers are part of a professional community of practice that improves what it can do by sharing experiences and encouragement, Using evidence from research and reporting to others the findings of your own enquiries of  teaching are all part of that community of practice.

The Teacher in the Community.

As equally important as the professional community that teachers are part of are the connections that the teacher makes with the community on behalf of the school and the teaching profession. This may be in terms of messages communicated at formal occasions such as consultations with parents and parent groups or events organised to inform parents about the work of the school. The fact that teachers gather evidence in a critical manner with a clear criteria for quality established as a professional community  is important and needs to be acknowledged.

The RISE Vision of Schools as Research Informed Places:

Research informed schools can respond to changing demands well because they have the flexibility to adapt to new circumstances by evaluating and understanding the opportunities and risks of change or remaining the same. They know about the experiences of schools in similar circumstances who face the same dilemmas. This is because they are part of a knowledge community that includes other schools, professional organisations and research digests. A research informed school encourages debate around how it achieves its central and peripheral purposes. It can establish an agreed way forward from an examination of the best available evidence rather than becoming victims of opinion. This enables well considered innovation and growth in the capacity to educate children successfully.

Research Engaged Schools

A small step on from Research Informed schools are Research Engaged Schools where Schools create new knowledge about educational activity that they question and share among staff and other schools. This may include case studies, brief examples from practice, action research or participation in larger research collaborations. Questioning and encouragement continue to be central to professional development. Evaluation of this process can provide a framework for further investigation of evidence within and beyond the school. This in turn can inform the next stages of development for the school.

Auditing and Reporting on Activity

The toolkit provides a set of manageable resources to investigate practice within a school, plan improvements, monitor progress towards a shared vision  and to share the findings of this process with others who share that interest.

The Rise Model

The RISE process

This is a traditional school self review and development model that focuses on gathering the evidence that is available to the school to enable staff to make informed decisions about priorities for development according to the agreed vision of the school.  

Consider the Vision 

Use the score cards to help you focus on areas of interest and discuss if the practice described is desirable or appropriate for your school and if so. 

  • What is your school doing well and what would you like to see more of ?

Use the scorecards to find areas to work on or explore further. 

illustration of the different score cards used in RISE

The Score Cards:

These are used to stimulate discussion about strengths and challenges in order to locate priorities for  investigation and development.

Share your ideas, explore differences in constructive ways that acknowledge shared purpose and begin to build a common vision. 

Putting it bluntly What do you do well ? What could you do better? What needs to be done better and why?

Choose your focus 

From your discussions consider which areas are ripe for development. That means the practice that will provide benefits and appears to be something that could be changed relatively easily. Alternatively, you may conclude that the changes that are most needed are not that simple but are nevertheless what must be grappled with.
Putting it bluntly What really needs to change? Who will benefit from the change?

Research Your Practice

Find out what is happening at present and what those involved think is happening and why. Sometimes a systemic investigation of an area of practice leads to a rethink of what exactly is happening leading to new practice that was very different from what was originally envisaged.

For example asking children about their experiences of playground time or behaviour policies.

Examine the data you have and consider what other schools are doing or have done. Share observations of practice and question & actively listen to the children and adults involved.

Putting it bluntly: What do children and adults know about this? Do they have any suggestions and ideas?

How do other schools do this and what are the benefits?

Take Stock

Resist the temptation to jump to conclusions from the research of your area of practice. Discuss your findings and consider alternative interpretations.   Agree a summary of findings and use this to guide further action. 

Putting it bluntly: What do you know now that you did not know before? How is that important?

A Community of Practice(see methods), Whole School Meeting or focus group of stakeholders can help in the process. This will depend on how significant the changes are and who may be involved.

Identify Targets and Prioritise Action

What changes need to be made? How will you be able to demonstrate that the change has been implemented ? How will you be able to show the impact the changes? What can be measured or monitored during the process of change? 
See the ‘Enquiring Innovators Method’  for useful techniques of exploring the focus of targets and actions.

Putting it bluntly What can we do about this? How can we show that changing practice will improve things or not?

Implement Changes 

Your plan needs to be agreed and understood by those involved so that they can see the benefit of the change. Some children or adults may need to be supported in developing new understandings and skills. How will that be done? Are new or different resources needed? How will these be secured and managed? How will new practices fit into the current school or class organisation?
How will the change be monitored ? By who and how often?

Putting it bluntly Do we have a plan? Is everyone ready to make the changes?

Evaluate Outcomes

When will the change be formally evaluated based on the monitoring undertaken. Who will be involved? How will these findings be presented for discussion? What has been learnt?

Putting it bluntly. What do you know now that you did not know before? How is that important?

(re) Consider the Vision

How has your vision changed in the light of this development?

Putting it bluntly What have we learned and how does that fit with what we want to achieve?


Use the score cards to gain evidence about research informed and engaged practice then use the RISE cycle ( RISE Summary v2.1) to document action to improve practice in priority areas. Obtain a commentary on this process from an appropriate critical friend of the school and evaluate the utility and implications of this commentary using the RISE model forms. Submit this to Rise at MESH using the email address below


Rise Summary forms RISE summary Form: RISE summary evaluations
MeshGuides Rise Manual Front Cover RISE manual: RISeE toolkit v.3.2
Email: RISE@MESHGuides